Medigene, IRICoR, and University of Montréal expand analyses of potentially novel cancer antigens

Martinsried, Germany and Montréal, Canada – Medigene AG (Medigene, FSE: MDG1, Prime Standard), a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company focusing on the development of T cell immunotherapies, IRICoR, and the University of Montréal (Université de Montréal, UdeM) expand their mutual analyses of potentially novel cancer antigens.

In January 2020, Medigene entered into a research collaboration on novel cancer antigens for highly specific immunotherapies with UdeM and IRICoR, a pan-Canadian drug discovery research commercialization center. UdeM’s research team, led by Drs. Claude Perreault and Pierre Thibault at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC), provided Medigene with tumor-specific antigens (TSAs) stemming from non-coding regions of the DNA (“dark matter”) which they discovered using their proprietary platform, as novel targets for various cancer indications, particularly for solid tumors.

Medigene’s high-throughput screening technology identified ten of these peptides as immunogenic and able to induce specific T cell responses. To date, Medigene has isolated more than 20 T cell receptors (TCRs) of T cell clones that recognize these novel TSAs and have the potential to become next-generation TCR-T therapy candidates.

Prof. Dolores Schendel, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer at Medigene: “T cells are a group of immune cells responsible for eliminating altered cells in our body. They notice such changes when molecules unknown to them, i.e. not normally found in our body, are suddenly presented on the target cells. These so-called antigens are short protein fragments, known as “peptides” in technical language, which are presented on the cell surface with the help of HLA molecules. There are many different variants of HLA molecules, some more and some less common in certain populations.

Under the contract expansion with UdeM, we are now able to investigate TSAs in combination with further HLA variants. This expands the group of patients who could potentially benefit from TCR-T therapies targeting these novel cancer antigens in the future.”

Dr. Nadine Beauger, Chief Executive Officer of IRICoR: “We are very excited to continue our very productive collaboration with Medigene, which clearly demonstrates the ability of these novel TSAs to activate very specific T cell responses. IRICoR is continuing to invest in the development of these unique TSAs, which can be exploited in numerous immunotherapeutic approaches for the treatment of both solid and hematological tumors.”

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About Medigene

Medigene AG (FSE: MDG1, ISIN DE000A1X3W00, Prime Standard) is a publicly listed biotechnology company headquartered in Planegg/Martinsried near Munich, Germany. With its scientific expertise, Medigene is working on the development of innovative immunotherapies to enhance T cell activity against solid cancers in fields of high unmet medical need. Medigene’s pipeline includes preclinical as well as clinical programs in development.

Medigene’s strategy is to develop its own therapies towards clinical proof-of-concept. In addition, the Company offers selected partners the opportunity to discover and develop therapies on the basis of its proprietary technology platforms. In return for such partnerships, Medigene expects to receive upfront and milestone payments as well as research and development funding and royalties on future product sales.

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About Medigene’s TCR-Ts

T cells are at the center of Medigene’s therapeutic approaches. With the aid of Medigene’s immunotherapies the patient’s own defense mechanisms are activated, and T cells harnessed in the battle against cancer. Medigene’s therapies arm the patient’s own T cells with tumor-specific T cell receptors (TCRs). The resulting TCR-Ts should thereby be able to detect and efficiently kill cancer cells.

This approach to immunotherapy aims to overcome the patient’s tolerance to cancer cells and tumor-induced immunosuppression by activating the patient’s T cells outside the body, genetically modifying them with tumor-specific TCRs and finally multiplying them. In this way, large numbers of specific T cells are made available to patients to fight the cancer within a short period of time.

About IRICoR

Designated as a Centre of Excellence in Research and Commercialization (CECR) by the Canadian government, IRICoR is a pan-Canadian leader in the de-risking of early-stage assets in the field of drug discovery. IRICoR’s mandate is to accelerate the discovery, development, and commercialization of novel therapies in cancer and rare diseases. Since 2008, IRICoR has been successfully investing in and supporting selected high-value projects in order to rapidly translate early-stage innovation into potential new therapies, through either co-development partnerships with the biopharmaceutical industry or the creation of spin-off companies. IRICoR seamlessly combines its business-related expertise with access to industry-level drug discovery capabilities, providing selected academic and industry projects with access to its network of experts and cutting-edge infrastructure, including one of the largest academia-based drug discovery unit in Canada.
For more information about IRICoR:

This press release contains forward-looking statements representing the opinion of Medigene as of the date of this release. The actual results achieved by Medigene may differ significantly from the forward-looking statements made herein. Medigene is not bound to update any of these forward-looking statements. Medigene® is a registered trademark of Medigene AG. This trademark may be owned or licensed in select locations only.

Dr. Anna Niedl
Phone: +49 89 2000 3333 01

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